We continue our study of the Old Testament this week by staying in Genesis. We’ve been seeing how God worked in the life of Abraham, but now it’s time to see how God works in the generations after, specifically in Isaac’s life. God meets every person where they are and eventually the camels come to each generation!
1 Now it came to pass after these things that God tested Abraham, and said to him, “Abraham!” And he said, “Here I am.” 2 Then He said, “Take now your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you.” 3 So Abraham rose early in the morning and saddled his donkey, and took two of his young men with him, and Isaac his son; and he split the wood for the burnt offering, and arose and went to the place of which God had told him. 4 Then on the third day Abraham lifted his eyes and saw the place afar off. 5 And Abraham said to his young men, “Stay here with the donkey; the lad and I will go yonder and worship, and we will come back to you.”
Abraham believed God for the promises that God had given him. That he and Sarah would have a son between them and that son would beget more sons and the eventual descendants would be as numerous as the sand and stars.
So, when Isaac came along there was some kind of party! But that wasn’t the whole promise. Granted, a big, necessary part of the promise was fulfilled, but the rest had to happen over years.
So, at some point in Isaac’s growing up years, God tested Abraham’s faith. To the extreme. I want you to take your son, go to a place I’ll show you, and sacrifice him to Me on an altar. How would you have handled that?
But something inside Abraham was still focused on the promises of God. He was like, Okay, I’ll do what you say, but he knew that God would somehow solve the conundrum. He was obedient.
He took Isaac to the place, three days from home. He had all that he needed to make a proper sacrifice, minus an animal. But note, he told the young men, servants who had come with them, to stay here and we will come back to you. His faith was such that even if God had to raise Isaac from the dead that God would fulfill that promise of descendants through Isaac.
So, they go on alone. Isaac asks his dad about the animal needed and Abraham kind of puts him off as he’s tying Isaac up and binding him to the altar. He raises a long sharp knife over Isaac, the promised child, and as he’s ready to slit his throat, the hardest thing he ever had to do, God stops him. And then…
13 Then Abraham lifted his eyes and looked, and there behind him was a ram caught in a thicket by its horns. So Abraham went and took the ram, and offered it up for a burnt offering instead of his son. 14 And Abraham called the name of the place, The-Lord-Will-Provide; as it is said to this day, “In the Mount of the Lord it shall be provided.”
Wow, Abraham had some solid faith. He rested completely on the Lord and trusted Him implicitly. But that was only half the faith equation. Guess whose faith was also established and tested that day also. Yes, Isaac’s. Genuine faith and trust in the Lord is not something you inherit like your Grandpa’s ‘57 Chevy. God has no grandchildren. Only children.
And one generation’s got the responsibility to bring the next generation along, give them Godly experiences and the Scriptures and all that goes with that, but guess what? The next generation individuals must experience God themselves and their faith has to be strengthened or tested as well.
So, think of Isaac in that situation. What did Isaac think and feel on those days? What went through his mind and heart regarding what he believed about God? Especially as he lay there on an altar with a knife over his head.
He learned something about God that day. That God always provides what is needed for the promise to be fulfilled. He could learn that no other way than in a crisis in which he had to trust in God as much as his father and face down fear for himself.
This is a place where we see Jesus in Genesis in perhaps the clearest way. Because there would come a day when the Father would send His son to be the sacrifice for mankind’s sins, only that time God would go through with it. And then resurrect His Son from the dead three days later. Abraham didn’t have to do that, but God did. And you know what’s crazy? Scripture reveals to us that this was Mount Moriah that Abraham and Isaac visited that day.
It is where Jerusalem was eventually located, Solomon’s Temple built and the place where Jesus died on a Roman Cross. Yeah. You never know what importance that thing you’re going through today might have in another generation.
So, now we skip ahead to Isaac’s 40th birthday. His mom, Sarah had died a few years previous. His dad was elderly now. And Isaac never married and he needed to. But once again, his faith was built in the process. Because Abraham was going to find a wife for him. Isaac didn’t get to eHarmony someone, Match.com a date, it was completely and utterly out of his hands.
1 Now Abraham was old, well advanced in age; and the Lord had blessed Abraham in all things. 2 So Abraham said to the oldest servant of his house, who ruled over all that he had, “Please, put your hand under my thigh, 3 and I will make you swear by the Lord, the God of heaven and the God of the earth, that you will not take a wife for my son from the daughters of the Canaanites, among whom I dwell; 4 but you shall go to my country and to my family, and take a wife for my son Isaac.” 5 And the servant said to him, “Perhaps the woman will not be willing to follow me to this land. Must I take your son back to the land from which you came?” 6 But Abraham said to him, “Beware that you do not take my son back there. 7 The Lord God of heaven, who took me from my father’s house and from the land of my family, and who spoke to me and swore to me, saying, ‘To your descendants I give this land,’ He will send His angel before you, and you shall take a wife for my son from there.
So, God led Gehazi to the place and the people that Abraham had directed him to. And miraculously God indicated the girl of God’s choice for Isaac and Gehazi ends up bringing her back to Isaac. But think about this from Isaac’s point of view. And what do we find him doing?
61 Then Rebekah and her maids arose, and they rode on the camels and followed the man. So the servant took Rebekah and departed. 62 Now Isaac came from the way of Beer Lahai Roi, for he dwelt in the South. 63 And Isaac went out to meditate in the field in the evening; and he lifted his eyes and looked, and there, the camels were coming.
Isaac was trusting God and fully relying on Him. Because since he was a boy, The God Who Provides was establishing His own relationship with Isaac. So Isaac meditated on God, His promises, as he walked the fields near his tent in the evening. And one evening he saw the camels coming.
God has been working with you to establish His own relationship with you. And you have been trusting Him for something. Maybe with anxiety, maybe this is new to you. But guess what?
The camels are coming. I heard a message years ago on that very subject. Camels in the Bible bring God’s provision. Listen, trust Him, fully rely on Him. Your parents or friend’s faith isn’t enough. You need to know and trust God for yourself. And the struggles you’ve had, the unfulfilled dreams, the elusive answer, are there for a purpose: that you would turn to God and see that He is trustworthy.
Isaac and Rebekah, his wife, went on to have children themselves. Twin boys, Jacob and Esau were born to them and the same thing happened. Sadly, Esau seemingly rejected God in his life because of self-sufficiency and bitterness. But Jacob, unlikely Jacob, became the line through which God would continue to fulfill His promises and Jacob eventually trusted God for himself.
What are you dealing with today? What is it, that unfulfilled thing that you would love to have some answers for but so far it’s eluded you? God is wanting to establish a relationship of trust with you. And then the camels will come.